In the absence of institutional decision-and-policy-making organs, a political enterprise runs the risk of being at the mercy of individuals with a limited intellectual canvas whose only qualification is to turn a slogan into a touchstone of wisdom (and patriotism) without questioning its deeper ramifications. The results are for all to see as to what happens when unprecedented upheavals, more emotional than reasoned, silence critique and leave no room for rigorous intellectual scrutiny. This phenomenon is not limited to the past twenty or so years but is characteristic of the entire post-partition history of Kashmir, first dominated by a political colossus brooking no inquiry or challenge, and later permeated by a subterranean confusion and internalized conflict which found no resolution or outlet as the state sought to suborn the societys faculties of self-examination. This has always left a silent majority emasculated too severely to articulate sentiments which not only seemed too obvious to merit expression and communication but also a perilous notion to harbour in the face of the orchestrated wisdom of the day. Wittingly or unwittingly, subsequent political endeavours have sought to duplicate this trend to the ultimate detriment of a real political awakening in Kashmir and the consequent affirmative action which could have followed.
A highly vocal ventilation of a particular political creed based on the erroneous perception that alternative constructs do not exist have undone Kashmirs polity in no mean measure, as the undercurrents of dissent, direly needed as a corrective mechanism in a society seeking self-realisation, have been progressively choked into silent submission at the sub-conscious level, leaving the field in an either-or state of deemed patriots and traitors. An impartial intellectual discourse would have debunked this practice and paved the way for other options to emerge more in tune with the realms of possibility and less inclined to entail permanently disabling conclusions. When philosophies hold centre stage purely by default, stagnation is just round the corner along with a dead end. Political streams in Kashmir are direly in need of critical and impartial examination from a detached perspective for a realistic evaluation of their merits so as not to burden the coming generations with a legacy unmanageable in a world struggling to be born. To expect the intelligentsia to dedicate itself to a particular creed is to surreptitiously sow the seeds of intellectual fascism whose ultimate end is documented too vividly in history to bear repetition.
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